Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.


- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Mr President: Tear down that wall

The New York Times wrote an excellent editorial today (showing that at least a few people in the 'news' department remember how this democracy thing was supposed to have worked out.)

I was torn in naming this blog post. My inclination was to call it 'bullshit democracy;' but democracy is never 'bullshit...' not when it's really working. No; it only seems that way under this horrific, lawless administration.

How to rescue democracy from a hostile takeover? Well, good question, and one we seem to be asking ourselves endlessly these days. New York Times - have at it:

Presidential Stone Walls
The New York Times | Editorial

Sunday 17 June 2007

The template for the Bush administration's mania for secrecy was signed by the president six years ago - Executive Order 13233, reversing the presumption of right of public access to presidential papers. This basic right of taxpayers and historians alike was embedded in the 1978 laws enacted after the Nixon administration. The reforms established a reasonable 12-year waiting period for access. But Mr. Bush's reversal lets presidents or vice presidents (guess who?) keep their records sealed in perpetuity unless they or their heirs approve access.

Translation: their crimes are so epic and unconscionable, that if we as a nation ever find out what they've really been doing, behind closed doors the past 7 (soon 8) years, we will run their heirs out of town, tarred and feathered on a rail.

Fortunately, Congress is in the process of demonstrating that such hermetic devotion to secrecy has no place in a democracy. Mr. Bush's order would be rescinded by a proposal approved overwhelmingly in the House in March and now making its way to passage in the Senate. The White House, of course, is vowing to veto any final bill. So it is important that the Senate re-establish the public's obvious right to historical transparency with the same veto-proof support achieved in the House.

Which begs the question: will anyone on the GOP aisle of the Senate have the, um... 'courage' to vote on the behalf of the nation? Or are too many of them now complicit (and thus doomed to 'loyal Bushiehood' for life) to over-rule this illegal and undemocratic 'executive order?'

Otherwise, Mr. Bush's dictum will stand, with no explanation required for denying requests, nor any appeal allowed. The executive order leaves a costly, lengthy lawsuit as Americans' only avenue of possible redress.

You must be joking? We the American people would have to then sue our own government to find out what this president has been doing behind our backs the past 7 years? Really?

Surely we can overturn this in the next administration... oh I get it. Why would any future president overturn this freebie 'get out of history' free card if they weren't forced to be accountable to it? That would require... some sort of actual moral character and devotion to democracy.

So we are already assuming that we can't elect anyone - from either party - with enough of an ethical center that they would overturn this for the better interests of democracy. You're implying there aren't any Eisenhowers left in the bottle. Certainly no Lincolns, Jeffersons or Roosevelts.

Well that's certainly depressing.

Hiding secrets and embarrassments may be a predictable part of a politician's instinct for survival. But attempting to enshrine this instinct timelessly is a stain on the Constitution and an insult to history. The administration insists that only 64 of more than two million pages have been sealed thus far. They would be a good place to start reading once Congress re-establishes the public's right to know.

You're talking to the Senate... right? Because the House can undoubtedly pass this. The Senate seems to be our greatest stumbling block in our attempt to restore democracy.

Oh, I can imagine the same brave 'magic 7' stepping forward once again to shame the other members of their Bush-enabling party. But I have yet to see enough GOP Senators vote with any demonstration of non-partisan conscience to actually over-ride a veto on behalf of our constitutional rights as American citizens. They say they don't approve of Bush, but in the end, they give him whatever he wants and an order of fries on the side.

Mr Lugar. I'm watching you. One of these days you're really going to have to vote your conscience, if you expect me to believe that you actually have one. I know you know the difference between right and wrong: you used to be a minister. This isn't rocket science. If you have the moral character... vote it. Please.

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